Teenage girls risk pregnancy if they follow 'contraception tips of social media influencers' | The Sun

TEENS risk getting pregnant if they take contraception tips from social media influencers, experts warn.

Research found a rise in internet stars plugging trendy period-tracking apps and revealing they came off the Pill to be “more natural”.

But tracking menstrual cycles to avoid getting up the duff is complicated and riskier than proper birth control, say scientists.

Teenage pregnancies in the UK are at historic lows, with 12,787 in under-18s in the year to September 2021, compared to 44,000 in 1998.

Study author Emily Pfender, from the University of Delaware, said: “Influencers’ videos that discourage the use of highly effective birth control and fail to encourage using other forms of protection are a public health issue.”

She analysed 50 YouTube videos posted by influencers with more than 20,000 followers each.

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Three quarters of the clips talked about stopping hormonal contraception, such as the Pill or the implant.

One of the main reasons for stopping was a “desire to be more natural”, Ms Pfender said in the journal Health Communication.

Many of the YouTubers spoke about tracking their period cycle so they could avoid pregnancy by not having sex around the time their egg is released each month.

Just 34 per cent of those who said they came off contraception talked about starting a different kind.

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The NHS calls cycle-tracking “natural family planning” and says it is around 76 per cent effective in the real world.

Health chiefs say women or couples should have lessons from a “fertility awareness teacher” before starting on the method.

Ms Pfender added: “What young viewers don’t see in influencer content is the amount of effort and meticulous planning that goes into tracking cycles.

“They should be sceptical of information online.”

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